THE LAST TIME I SAW GARY WINSLOW • by Carla Lancken

We were good for a while till the shaking and the noise. The noise was deafening. My coffee cup turned over and the file cabinet dipped to the floor, spilling its contents like one of our hungover brokers. I grabbed the arm of my chair as it rolled into another desk.

I was scared. Really scared. Everyone froze. I saw debris flying past the window with thick smoke and dust. I saw the others pick up phones with dazed looks. I picked up mine and called my mother.

I love you, mom, I said when she answered, then the line went dead. The hallway filled, people running to blank elevators and then turning to the stairs, flowing down them like lava.

I ran back to the office to retrieve my purse. I looked out the window one last time and saw Gary Winslow from upstairs whizzing down so fast I barely recognized him but for his crazy pink jacket.

I ran back to the stairs and let myself be carried on this barge of humanity. Someone smashed my head with their foot.

I could have died then but I didn’t. I woke up on the sidewalk. I crawled through the debris until a fireman lifted me off the ground and carried me to a shelter where I passed out again.

I woke up in a hospital bed. I looked across the room and saw a man’s jacket hanging over the arm of a chair. It was crazy pink, just like Gary Winslow’s jacket. I couldn’t remember where I saw him last. I thought I saw him falling from a window, but he wouldn’t have survived that.

I closed my eyes, hoping when I opened them again I would see something that would make sense, but when I opened them I saw airplanes crashing into the twin towers on the TV. I pressed the button for more medication and fell back to sleep.


Carla Lancken writes poems and flash faction in the Hudson Valley, NY.


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Every Day Fiction